In the Spring of 2013 my health inexplicably took a nose-dive. I went from working full time to not being able to work at all. Today I can function somewhere in the middle and am living with a probable Lymes Disease diagnosis and other autoimmune issues.
The theme of my life is learning to live within my limitations. I am learning to reach out and talk about my health, or lack of health. I struggle to ask for help but am improving at saying no to things or simply backing out of commitments due to not feeling well. That’s progress. I also don’t feel shame anymore when I share about my health journey. I can accept it as one piece of me. It doesn’t define me; it’s just something that I deal with every day. I find I have much more energy when I am not trying to hide how sick I feel. Giving myself permission to simply feel how I feel is liberating.
I no longer use what little energy I have to fight the fact that I have a chronic illness. I have shifted my focus to acceptance. I set a daily goal of accomplishing one thing and give myself grace if it doesn’t happen. I have a new definition of productive and it doesn’t look like the younger productive me. I am learning to be okay with that.
The riskiest thing I can do is to share my story. What I gain from connecting with others is empathy, acceptance, and encouragement. The other benefit to telling my story is that I get connected to others who share similar experiences. It’s nice not to feel alone. This has opened the door for me to meet others and hear their stories.
Thru this journey, I have yo-yo’d back and forth from being the sick Kristi to the quasi-healthy Kristi and everything in between. What I realize now is that I have always been me, no matter what my health status is. I am the woman whose favorite color has been orange since age 5. I am the mom of two emerging adults, and a high maintenance Frenchie. I am a daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend. I am a leader, coach, team player, and a zebra. I am Kronically Kristi.